I’ve been told lately that how I have handled my marriage and how I am handling the dissolution of my marriage show a lack of strength.
I’ve been told that I should be kicking butt. I’ve been told that I don’t stack up to other women who would be handling this situation differently, read: better. I’ve been told, “I guess we’re just different…I’m strong, independent…”, implied: you’re not.
I beg to differ.
Though I’ve come to realize that no one but Jesus will ever truly know the depth of pain that I’ve carried the past eighteen years, it’s also occurred to me that no one else really needs to know.
Because he knows. And I know.
I know what it took to stay married for six thousand five hundred and forty four days when I didn’t want to. I know what it took to stay put because I was trying to give my children the stability that I didn’t have growing up. I know what it took to attempt to keep my vows when pretty much every day found me praying for an out. That’s not cowardice. That’s not being a wimp who was afraid to leave. I stayed out of intentionality, not of weakness or fear.
And I know what it’s taken to get through this past year of disentangling myself from my husband, a process that is still going on and will continue for a few years, from what I understand. Just because I’ve had time to let the idea settle in doesn’t mean I didn’t feel like I got kicked in the gut when I saw his signature on the divorce papers he filed.
I may have cried a lot, and worn my pajamas in public, and taken one or two naps a day, and forgotten to eat from time to time, but that does not make me weak. It’s called grieving.
And my choices and decisions may leave some scratching their heads, but they’re not me. And they haven’t lived my life. And they don’t know my heart.
Because I know that my intention through every day of the past twenty five years of my life has been to follow God. When I have broken his heart, mine has broken too. When I chose to walk away from my vows – even though advised to do so – I did so with sadness and regret.
And yet I did so with strength. Enduring a difficult marriage and then walking away because it’s the best thing to do all while trying to raise two children is not for the weak.
There is a strength that accompanies those who wait on the Lord, who do what’s right no matter how hard (staying, then leaving, in my case), who don’t worry themselves with opinions of others.
I may appear weak and foolish, but if my true strength comes from God, then frankly, I’m stronger than I even know.